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Lion of the Western Cape: The story of Pappy Thrill

By Soltesh Iyere
11 July 2021   |   4:01 pm
In this interview, Soltesh Iyere had a quick chat with South African-based fusion artist, Pappy Thrill. Thrill gives us a sneak peek into his life. Born and raised in Nigeria, Thrill spent most of his younger years attending school, playing football for Pepsi Academy. He left football and tried Taekwondo for two years before he…

Pappy Thrill

In this interview, Soltesh Iyere had a quick chat with South African-based fusion artist, Pappy Thrill. Thrill gives us a sneak peek into his life.

Born and raised in Nigeria, Thrill spent most of his younger years attending school, playing football for Pepsi Academy. He left football and tried Taekwondo for two years before he finally decided to do music.

Since he debuted, Thrill sold 8000 copies of his album from his car boot and it has solidified his presence among those to watch.

Pappy Thrill, tell us about the past year and how it has affected your creativity.
This past year has been so depressing in terms of financial capabilities in push my music out to the world due to the COVID-19 regulations.

It hasn’t been easy putting out music and getting gigs to help promote the music to reach its maximum potentials. Although, I have been very busy dropping music videos from my previous album Tear, Sweat Blood, and the upcoming album Lion Of The Western Cape.

I have also been more engaged with my upcoming album; (Lion Of The Western Cape) at the same time shooting skits and monologues to keep fans busy with my vast creative mind while I prepare them for the upcoming album.

Tell us how you got into music and what was your earliest memory?
I have always loved music, I didn’t just stumble into music. If I tell people I have always known I would be an entertainer, they laugh. But truth be told, music has always been in me for the days of Ras Kimono, Orits Wiliki, Mike Okri and Majek Fashek, before the likes of 2Face, Banky W up until the recent times of Wizkid and Burna Boy.

My earliest memory is that of my album lunch which was in 2019 at Mercury Live featuring South Africas finest musicians Buffalo Souljah, Gemini Major, Tshego and Stilo Magolide. I also recall the finest memories was my concert – Thrill Concert – which was held live at one of the most reputable locations in South Africa, Shimmy Beach Club, in Cape Town South Africa. It was a shutdown and I will never forget those days.

The turn-up made massive and I felt like the Lion Of The Western Cape that I know I am even if the media tried to make me look less by not putting more importance on my struggle. I only feel it’s because I am a foreigner and they fear what I carry.

They don’t want me to be more successful than their own artiste, and I really don’t feel bad about that anymore. If Nigeria could give all Nigerian Musicians a better platform like the South African Government does I am sure I would have gone farther than I am today.

Where did the name Pappy Thrill come from?
Firstly they used to call me Eitty Dread. That name came from higher institution school days. It was dreadful and most people liked it and some religious folks didn’t.

As time went by, I wanted to change the nickname but to what?… One day, I was watching Prison Break with my cousin on his Bedroom TV, and I heard Fernando Sucre call Lincoln Burrows ‘Pappy’ that caught my attention and it sounded cool. So I changed my name from Dread to Pappy.

Along the line of life during my NYSC days in Nigeria 2009, A friend of mine I was serving at that time always liked calling me Thriller because I entertained him and my NYSC colleagues and most of the time he calls me Pappy Thriller. From there on, I started calling myself Pappy Thrill and everyone else followed suit.

Do you have any major influences that have inspired you personally and artistically?
Life is my biggest influence, all my music creation is a self-practice of my own experience of life and other peoples lives I have come across as well. I have experienced all kinds of things and moments from life, it is being observed and reflected as a piece of creation with curiosity.

You have consistent branding, we can see that on your social media. How did you develop your branding as an artist?
Every artist has at least one special quality that makes him or her different from every other artist. I feel my unique selling point is that my fans can recognize me with my distinct sound, and my own sense of style and the way I interact with my fans in humility, love and care although with no sentiments. Lol.

I Brand my Image by consistently telling my personal true stories over and over again in different Sounds, forms and images. I Feel my fans build a deeper connection with me when they can relate to my personal story.

My fans build their perception of me based on my image. My brand image includes the way I dress, how I present myself in interviews, how I interact with my fans and the general public, and how I market myself. I make sure I strategize before I present. I have a team that helps me supersede all my work.

My brand image helps to sell my music as thus I don’t play with it. I try so hard to create my own look to differentiate myself from other artists.

I deliver a consistent experience to my fans to develop a format for my stage events. In addition, I present a consistent image every time I release my music or content and make sure all of my marketing materials have the same look and feel.

If I am to summarize my brand into one phrase, it would be “DO ME.” MY brand is who I’m and what I stand for.

What advice would you give other independent artists, who are new to the game, on finding their brand?
My advice to artists in finding their brand would be to; identify your unique selling point; write a compelling bio of yourself; develop your image; be consistent and be authentic.

Your music is very experimental, best described as Afropop. Tell us about your production process?
Funny enough, the creative process is simple. I like my space. I am more creative when I am alone. There I reminisce on a lot of old and new things going on in my life and the lives of people around me and I put them into my music but I make sure sometimes not to mention names. I add a little bit of fiction most times.

I am a storyteller. Most of my music is based on true stories of my life and others so I don’t really find it hard in making music when I am in my own zone. So, it’s safe to say I would only stop making music when I die.

Big congrats on your debut EP “Blood Stain”. Which sold-out 8000 copies from your car boot, which is epic! What’s your most memorable moment during the making of this album?
Thank you! My most memorable moment in making “Blood Stain” was when my Aunty and my uncle came from Nigeria to visit me at my house in Cape Town, South Africa, I recorded every day and night and didn’t have the time to show them around till they left my crib. Lol.

How would you describe the listening journey of your last album, “Tears Sweet Blood”, from ‘Attention’ to ‘Oso’?
The best way to describe My second album; (Tears Sweat Blood) from “Attention to Oso” would be; Matured, refined and more of me.

There are several interesting collaborations throughout the EP. How did you connect with these talented artists and decide to include them in ‘Tears Sweat Blood’?
Most of the collaborations happened because I was already making some serious noise in the music industry, dropping hit singles back to back and organizing music events that were well organized by myself and most of the South African and Zimbabwean artists I collaborated with already had a clue of who I was and they liked my music.

Now, a trick question. If you had to pick just one song from the album, to play on repeat for the rest of today, which track would you choose and why?
If I were to choose a song and play it on repeat from Tears, Sweat Blood, that would be to put the whole album on auto-repeat because I spat my all, my Tears Sweat and Blood in that project. I would encourage people to listen to that album before they dance.

From the start of your career to now, you have chosen to release music independently. Have you faced any notable challenges being independent? What are your biggest reasons for staying independent and running your own label?
One of my biggest challenges was getting involved with the right people. To date, I still do proper research on everyone whose hands I put in some aspect of my career. Check their credentials. Get references and personal recommendations to the people I need. I swear this was and still is one of my biggest challenges. Nothing else.

Besides trying and submitting demos back to back to different record labels and being turned down, one of the reasons I started my own record company was mainly to support the local scene. I‘m from Delta State, Agbor, somewhere that doesn’t have much of a reputation, either locally or internationally in the music industry, and I’d like to put my local producers and artists on the map as well even where I reside in Cape Town South Africa.

Last question! Besides listening to ‘Tears Sweat Blood’ on repeat, are there any other exciting projects we should watch out for in 2021?
In 2021 I would be releasing my 3rd Studio Album Lion Of The Western Cape. I have released 2 tracks off the upcoming album titled; Breaking News ft Joshy Hook and
No Be Today featuring just myself. Both songs were produced by Dirty Sprite Mafia.